It's "North v. South" tonight in this AFC match-up between Indy and Pitt. In fairness, having Indianapolis represent "The South" seems a bit silly when you compare it to Pittsburgh on a map:
Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
The Colts are still without QB Andrew Luck, but they are finding ways to win games under the leadership of Matt Hasselbeck, who could become the first 40-year old quarterback to win five consecutive starts in the Super Bowl era of NFL history. Yeah, let's not see that happen tonight, please. As much as it hurts us Houstonians to do so, we need to pull for the guys in black and gold. Hey, you can shower afterward.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said Colts owner Jim Irsay told him the team's franchise star -- who has been sitting with a lacerated kidney and shoulder issues -- should return for a Week 15 matchup against the Dolphins in Miami.
Matt Hasselbeck has been phenomenal in relief. The 40-year-old has not lost a start yet this season and, according to his offensive coordinator, he's playing with the vigor of a rookie again.
"He's playing like a 22-year-old in terms of his excitement and passion to play," Rob Chudzinski said Thursday, via the team's official website. "I can't say enough about him and his performance."
Despite all that, coach Chuck Pagano made one thing clear: Luck was going to be his starter again when he's ready.
There aren't many who would argue this, and Luck definitely has that special something that can advance the Colts beyond one round of the playoffs. His regression this year was largely health related, and allowing him time to clear up, or at least temporarily mend any issues, could be Indianapolis' best shot at playing deep into January.
Week 15 is crucial in that it gives Luck more than one warmup game should Indianapolis make the postseason.
Pitssburgh Steelers (6-5)
The Steelers are in second place in the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals (10-2), but they have Ben Roethlisberger back in action, and he's firing on all cylinders, according to this article on steelers.com that listed things to watch for:
DO IT AGAIN BEN: Steelers QBBen Roethlisberger is 300 yards passing shy of extending his streak of consecutive games with at least that many to a career-long four.
9-FOR-9: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is one home win away from winning at least five games at Heinz Field in each of his nine seasons with the Steelers (51-19 overall in the regular season).
.500 IN PRIME TIME: The Steelers need a win to even their record in prime time in 2015 after losing on Sept. 10 at New England and on Oct. 1 against Baltimore and winning on Oct. 12 at San Diego.
SUDDENLY SUSCEPTIBLE: The Steelers have surrendered at least 300 yards passing in three consecutive games after allowing that many just once over the first eight games (they gave up a season-high 354 on Oct. 12 at San Diego). The Raiders, Browns and Seahawks have thrown for a combined 964 yards against the Steelers over the last three games.
That's your preview for tonight's game. The comments section is open, and the usual rules apply.
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